Television fitness trainer Angie Dowds sent girlfriend a text message before committing suicide at Beachy Head


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The Independent Online

A celebrity fitness trainer sent her girlfriend a text message reading “my heart is broken; my spirit is broken” before leaping to her death from Beachy Head.

Angie Dowds, an award winning fitness expert who appeared in ITV’s weight loss challenge show The Biggest Loser, also told Edwina Benson that she would soon be “at peace”, adding “on your head be it” before jumping from the suicide hotspot, an inquest heard today.

Recording a verdict of suicide, the coroner said she was satisfied that Miss Dowds, who had a history of drink and drug addiction, and whose body contained a 'severely toxic' cocktail of alcohol and diazepam, had intended to kill herself.

Witnesses reported seeing the 42-year-old "walking purposely" towards the cliff edge near Eastbourne, East Sussex, before disappearing over the sheer drop just after 4.30pm on November 20 last year.

Ms Benson broke down as she told Eastbourne Magistrates' Court of the text message exchanges between her and Miss Dowds, whom she had known for just a few months.

The primary school administrator said that although Miss Dowds had spoken of committing suicide in the past, she didn’t believe she would ever follow it through.

Kevin Dowds, Angie’s brother, told the court how he had been shocked by the toll alcohol had taken on her when he saw her the weekend before her death.

He said: "I could see the effect of her drinking, but at the same time I felt a sense of optimism that she was going to let go of her career and just get well."

She confided in him that things were "wonky in her domestic world" and that she had expressed concern about where she was going to live.

Then two days before her death, they spoke on the phone and Miss Dowds told him she had "had enough" and that "I want to go to God".

He said: "I didn't know what to say to her apart from expressing that I didn't want her to do that and that I'd come and get her, but she didn't want me to do that.

"When Angie was in those states, it could be very volatile and dramatic. I had experiences with Angie which were bad but two days later it was like it never happened."

Details of her troubled state were disclosed when she was found on the A20 last August by police saying she wanted to run in front of cars and "end it all".

She had at various times been admitted to hospital and received help from mental health professionals, as well as Alcoholics Anonymous, but her problems continued.

The inquest was also told that Miss Dowds had 129mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood at the time of her death. The legal drink-drive limit is 80mg.

Pathologist Dr Hassan El Teraifi said that although the alcohol level was not high, combined with more than double the therapeutic level of diazepam, she may have been in a "toxic state".

Her GP, Dr Helen Eakin, said Miss Dowds, who lived in north London, went missing in May last year but was found.

She had also been under "increasing pressure" as a new television series she was involved in was due to start in three months.

Dr Eakin said in a statement: "It seems she had a long history of problems with alcohol and drug misuse." In January last year, she was referred to a mental health team from accident and emergency following a drugs overdose.

At one point, she said she wanted to kill herself "to punish people". At Beachy Head, no suicide note was found but her identity was confirmed after a passport was found in her trouser pocket.

The Coastguard was called to retrieve her body from the beach and a post-mortem examination confirmed death was caused by multiple injuries.